Hearing Officer Education Committee
At the 2011 Pennsylvania State Roundtable, priority was given to Juvenile Court Hearing Officers and enhancing their exposure to the changing dependency practice. It was acknowledged that Hearing Officers are often the first and sometimes only interaction families have with Dependency Court. As such, the Juvenile Court Hearing Officer Education Committee was convened to enhance practices across Pennsylvania through regularly scheduled education sessions for Hearing Officers practicing in the Dependency System. The current chairperson for the Juvenile Court Hearing Officer Education Committee is the Honorable Jennifer L. Rogers, Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County. To view the current Committee members, click here.
On November 9, 2011, the first large convening of Hearing Officers that preside over dependency matters in Pennsylvania occurred. Fifty-six Hearing Officers came together to attend an educational session developed by the Juvenile Court Hearing Officer Education Committee. The educational session was monumental in that it was the first educational opportunity geared specifically towards Hearing Officers. In addition, the educational session provided some Hearing Officers with their first occasion to network with fellow Hearing Officers from neighboring counties and from across the state.
Ongoing Training Opportunities for Hearing Officers
Each year the Committee provides semi-annual trainings to Hearing Officers and makes recommendations to the Pennsylvania State Roundtable. Education sessions will be provided on the second Thursday in May and the second Thursday in October. Each Hearing Officer education session will be six hours in length to meet the requirement of R.J.C.P. 1182(B). To view the Juvenile Court Hearing Officer Education Committee State Roundtable Reports, click here.
Hearing Officer Directory
The Pennsylvania State Roundtable approved the creation of a private Juvenile Court Dependency Hearing Officer Directory on the Office of Children and Families in the Courts website. The intention of the directory is to allow Hearing Officers the opportunity to network and provide support to one another. The directory also provides the assigned Leadership Roundtable for each Hearing Officer to know who is practicing in like-size counties. In January 2018, the Juvenile Court Hearing Officer Directory first became available online. Only Dependency Court Judges and Hearing Officers will have access to the directory, which requires special log-in credentials. The Juvenile Court Hearing Officer Education Committee respectfully requests that the information within the directory remains confidential. To view the Hearing Officer Directory, click here. If changes need to be made to the directory, please email Judicial Program Analyst Jennifer Eichenlaub at Jennifer.Eichenlaub@pacourts.us.
Rules Specific to Juvenile Court Hearing Officers (Link to Juvenile Court Procedural Rules, Chapter 11, Part D)
1182 Qualifications of Juvenile Court Hearing Officer
1185 Appointment to Cases
1187 Authority of Juvenile Court Hearing Officer
1190 Stipulations Before Juvenile Court Hearing Officer
1191 Juvenile Court Hearing Officer’s Findings and Recommendations to the Judge